Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
Directed by: Bryan Spicer
Written by: Arne Olsen, John Kamps
Starring: Amy Jo Johnson, Barbara Goodson, David Yost, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, Jason David Frank, Jason Narvy, Johnny Yong Bosch, Julia Cortez, Karan Ashley, Kerry Casey, Mark Ginther, Nicholas Bell, Paul Freeman, Paul Schrier, Peta-Marie Rixon, Steve Cardenas
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: THE MOVIE (1995)
Directed by Bryan Spicer
The Power Rangers must fight for all humanity when an all-powerful villain named Ivan Ooze is accidentally released 6000 years after his incarceration. With an intent on spreading evil throughout the Earth using the parents of Angel Grove to do his dirty work, Ooze proves to be the Rangers’ most fearsome villain yet. After Ooze destroys the Power Rangers’ Command Centre, Zordon’s robot assistant Alpha 5 sends the Rangers to a distant planet in order to retrieve a special power, the only thing that will be able to stop the wicked Ooze.
With the guitar-shredding licks of Buckethead used as the theme tune, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was the must-watch television programme for kids of the 90’s. A simple yet exhilerating premise for kids everywhere, the series revolved around five average teenagers from the American town of Angel Grove who are chosen to become Power Rangers by the kindly extraterrestrial-being Zordon and his trusty assistant robot Alpha 5. The Rangers are brought together to fight evil, namely Lord Zedd, the cruel Rita Repulsa and her minions, using mad martial arts skills, enhanced by their Ranger powers, and the use of pre-historic animal-themed Zords (robot machines). The Power Rangers could usually battle their foes with ease using their Zords but when confronted by towering enemies, of which there were many, each individual Zord would come together to make one giant Zord called a Megazord. This Megazord could rival any villainous giant Repulsa or Zedd would throw at them and would battle and defeat various enemies at the end of every television episode. Each of the five teenagers were assigned specific coloured Ranger roles but as the series developed, a few of the characters left thus the identity of the Rangers changed. The programme also received a new addition to the group, sixth ranger Tommy Oliver, who was initially introduced to defeat the Power Rangers as the Green Ranger under the spell of Rita Repulsa. However, once that plot thread ran its course and Tommy was free of Repulsa’s grasp, he ended up becoming the White Ranger and the new leader of the Power Rangers. This 1995 movie became a continuation of the series with the characters already established by the television show and became one of the most anticipated movies of the mid 90’s for any kickass kid growing up around that time.
As most of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television episodes only lasted 30 minutes, there was never enough time to fully invest in a story which is where the feature film manages to spread its wings, introducing a threat to the Earth that fans around the globe hadn’t yet seen. In many of the episodes, the Power Rangers would do battle with Rita Repulsa, her sidekick Goldar and her Putties – grey minions who would appear in large numbers to fight the teens. In 1995’s MIGHTY MORPHIN POWWER RANGERS:THE MOVIE, Repulsa and series 2 bad guy Lord Zedd are no longer a terrifying force having failed repeatedly to destroy Zordon and the Rangers. Instead, an all-powerful ancient evil know as Ivan Ooze is unleashed upon the human race. Once running the world with an iron fist and spreading evil throughout, killing everything around him, Ivan Ooze was pretty much an unstoppable force, that is until Zordan of Eltar and his then-team of Power Rangers managed to subdue and trap Ooze in a giant egg before burying him deep underground never to be released. 6000 years later, construction workers accidentally uncover his concealed tomb and, with a little help from Lord Zedd and Repulsa, Ooze is brought back to life to once again wreak havok across Earth.
Everyone loves a baddie and they don’t come much creepier than this guy. The film’s antagonist Ivan Ooze is all kinds of gross with his purple complexion, pointed facial features and general sliminess. With his ability to manipulate anyone he chooses using his purple goo, Ivan Ooze proves a far more dangerous adversary for the Power Rangers than Zedd or Repulsa ever were, with the devilish duo becoming prisoners themselves under Ooze. Series regular villain Goldar only escapes a similar fate by agreeing to serve Ooze and thus his plan is in action. But before he can execute it, Ooze has a settle to score with Zordan which sets the Power Rangers on a path to a distant planet in order to save Zordan and Angel Grove from Ooze’s gooey grip.
What I thoroughly enjoy about MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS – THE MOVIE, even to this day, is its sense of fun and appeal to kids of all ages. The Power Rangers were real role models, both for children in the film and ones in real life watching it. They’re likable teenagers who help each other out and get up to cool stuff during their weekends off including skydiving to the sounds of Higher Ground by Red Hot Chili Peppers and skating through Angel Grove on roller blades, performing insane tricks like skating down some steps or leaping over the camera. C’mon, it was the 90’s. Things like that were cool and, like decades before, we enjoyed sporting activities and the great outdoors, not swiping at mobile phones and tablets all day like many of the kids today. So when we have this bunch of teenagers made up of 4 guys and 2 girls, who not only excel at any extreme sports but can also kick butt with snappy martial arts and backflip skills, then you were onto a sure-fire winner. Throw them into some coloured suits and helmets, give them a dinosaur-themed Zord each and bob’s your uncle, instant superheroes. They appealed to kids of all ages and were something the whole family could watch and enjoy, unlike the 2017 Power Rangers reboot. They even, for the most part, stuck to practical FX using costumes and make-up to create the Ooze and Crow baddies with CGI used only for Ooze’s transformations and the bigger, more complicated villains of the piece, namely the giant ants, as well as the Rangers’ Zords.
The film holds up even to this day, showcasing more hand-to-hand combat fights than the reboot has. In MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS – THE MOVIE, fans are treated to a mixture of wirework, gymnastics and martial arts with a few of the villains flying in from all angles to attack our heroes whilst they fight back with a few cunning tricks of their own. We even get to see the launch of some new Zords and animal powers after Ooze effectively destroys the pre-historic animal powers they were granted by Zordon. Teamwork is a big part of the Power Rangers combat so fans can enjoy some pretty entertaining pair-ups as they attempt to take down Ooze’s cronies. We’re even introduced to a new badass female character who helps the rangers on their journey. Her baton-twirling skills come in quite useful when the powerless Rangers come under attack from Ooze’s winged beasties. Despite only being present on-screen for a certain section of the movie, her character becomes an important part of the film as she provides a key to the survival of Earth.
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS – THE MOVIE is a brilliant movie for kids under 10 years old and is the sort of film kids of today would enjoy. The 2017 reboot serves more towards the teenage end of the viewership, going for a rebellious teen audience, but Mighty Morphin appeals to the innocent adventurers and promotes a much healthier message to children with its power for good. Anyone sitting down to watch this film could enjoy it as a piece of fun entertainment without having seen the series but to fully benefit would need prior knowledge of the show to fully appreciate the struggle of Zordon and the characters.
There’s a reason why Power Rangers is still an on-going franchise and that’s purely because of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. No matter whether they’re sent to space, transform into ninjas or become snotty teenage grotbags (reboot…*cough*), none can match the brilliance of the original. Pure and simple. Power Rangers….POWER UP!